by John Little
Yamaha and C-tech battle it out by Lyn Holland - North Sails 12 & 18ft Skiff Auckland Champs
This weekend is the annual North Sails 12 & 18ft Skiff Auckland Champs being sailed out of the Auckland Sailing Club, Okahu Bay. The series will comprise of 3 races a day starting at 1pm followed by a BBQ on Saturday and prize giving Sunday.
This weekend marks the first major regatta for the 18s since returning from San Francisco in late September with 10 boats competing. This is the most NZ based 18s racing since the fleets resurgence in Auckland and is a significant step forward for the class as it looks towards the JJ Giltinan’s in Sydney early next year.
Hot from winning the Nespresso 18ft Skiff International Regatta in San Francisco C-tech (Alex Vallings, Peter Burling, Josh McCormack) will be looking to continue their foot hold on the fleet. However the early favorites will come under plenty of pressure, with Yamaha (Dave MacDiarmid, Hayden Whitburn, Mark Overington) and Events Clothing (Riley Dean, John Little, James Gell) showing good form of late, while 2011/12 National Champions Maersk line (Graham Catley, Chris Dawson, Brad Collins) are always a threat. There are also several new crew combinations in the fleet, all of whom are looking to start their campaigns on a positive note.
Yamaha by Christophe Favreau - North Sails 12 & 18ft Skiff Auckland Champs
The 12ft skiffs also look set to have a good turn out with 8 boats. For several of the 12s this regatta marks a key stepping stone towards the Inter-Dominions in Brisbane during the New Year. Again the early favorites are C-tech (Chris Reid, Ben de Fluiter) who finished second in last season’s Inter-Dominions, are current national title holders and will be competing in their recently rebuilt boat. Chasing them for the Auckland title are veterans on Frakenskiff (Tim Bartlett, Adam Millar), Absolute CNC (Russell Davis, Jono Clough), Nice Action Too (Hamish Hey, Tim Sneddon) and Hi Rev (Greg Roak, Travis Dow). For Clough, Sneddon and Dow, who are new to this challenging class, it will be their first championship. After finding his feet as a skiff crew Sneddon joked with skipper Hey, a Yachting NZ Regional Support Officer, that he has 'ruined' him, as 'after sailing skiffs, sailing anything else is not as much fun anymore'.
The club would additionally like to congratulate Alex Vallings and crew for being a finalist for the Yachting New Zealand Performance Award. This achievement was earned from outstanding victories in the 2012 Mark Foy Regatta in Auckland and the Nespresso 18ft Skiff International Regatta in San Francisco.
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Fineline Ropes - North Sails 12 & 18ft Skiff Auckland Champs